Dave Sim's blogandmail #104 (December 24th, 2006)
Sunday December 24 - Dave Sim's Two-Sunday Christmas. I've chosen to treat Christmas as basically just another Sunday ever since I started celebrating it alone after becoming estranged from my family back in 2003. Well, just another Sunday in the sense that I fast and read Scripture and sleep a lot. And, of course, the scripture in this case is John's Gospel which I read in its entirety. That maybe requires a little explanation. It's just a theory, but since the Synoptic Jesus, from what I understand, couldn't have been born on December 25 (shepherds aren't watching their flocks out in the fields at the Winter Solstice in the Middle East) and given that December 25 has gotten locked in globally to the extent that it has, my theory is that December 25 is the birthdate of the Johannine Jesus, thus, I read John's Gospel on December 25.
I realize that it was also an observed date for Saturnalia in the Roman Empire but if I'm not mistaken that was the Winter Solstice specifically which usually occurs a few days before Christmascertainly never on the 25th. I tend to think that it was a nice gesture on the part of God that He would allow His Redeemer to be linked to a pagan festival and it's just another example of pagan mean-spiritedness that they draw the opposite inference: that Christianity appropriated the pagan festival for its own purposes. All depends on how you look at it but if you're a pagan you might want to consider the extent to which you're bristling right now at my suggestion and wonder "Hey, where is THIS coming from?"
Anyway, I figured I would run the Kingdom Interlinear version of John Chapter Four 1-32 (a favourite of mine) here on Christmas Eve Day and then run the King James Version from 1611 on Christmas Day. I've decided that that's the way I'll be dealing with the Gospels in my scripture readings (God willing I get that far): reading the Kingdom Interlinear version in the first half and the King James version in the second half of the reading.
Coincidentally, I'm writing this on the opening night of Christkindl here in Kitchener, the traditional German market festival recreation they hold at City Hall every year and which is a big part of my own "with folks" Christmas celebrations as opposed to my "without folks" observances of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, so this feels very Christmassy indeed!
A very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year to all readers of the Blog and Mail!
The Gospel According to John
Chapter Four verses 1 to 32
A word-for-word translation from the original Greek
[italicized "you" signifies the singular, no italics means it's a plural "you"]
As therefore knew the Lord that heard the Pharisees that Jesus more disciples is making and is baptizing than John,
Although indeed Jesus he not was baptizing but the disciples of him,
He let go off the Judea and he went away again into the Galilee
It was necessary however him to be traversing through the Samaria.
He is coming therefore into city of the Samaria being said Sychar near the piece of ground which gave Jacob to Joseph to the son of him;
Was however there fountain of the Jacob. The therefore Jesus having laboured out of the journey was sitting thus upon the fountain; hour was as sixth.
Is coming woman out of the Samaria to draw water. Is saying to her the Jesus, Give to me to drink;
The for disciples of him had gone off into the city, in order that foodstuffs they might buy.
Is saying therefore to him the woman the Samaritan, How you Jew being beside of me to drink you are asking of woman Samaritan being? Not for are using together Jews to Samaritans.
Answered Jesus and said to her, If you had known the free gift of the God and who is the saying to you Give to me to drink, you likely asked him and he gave likely to you water living.
She is saying to him, Lord, not and means of drawing you are having and the well is deep; wherefrom therefore you are having the water the living?
Not you greater are of the father of us, Jacob, who gave to us the well and he out of it drank also the sons of him and the nourished ones of him?
Answered Jesus and said to her Everyone the drinking out of the water this will get thirsty again;
Who however likely should drink out of the water of which I shall give to him, not not will get thirsty into the age, but the water which I shall give to him will become in him fountain of water bubbling up into life everlasting.
Is saying toward him the woman, Lord, give to me this the water, in order that not I may get thirsty not-but I may come through here to be drawing.
He is saying to her, Be going under, sound to of you the male person and come here.
Answered the woman and said to him, Not I am having male person. Is saying to her the Jesus, Finely you said that Male person not I am having; five for male persons you had, and now whom you are having not is of you male person; this true you have said.
Is saying to him the woman, Lord, I am beholding that prophet are you.
The fathers of us in the mountain this worshiped; and YOU are saying that in Jerusalem is the place where to be worshiping it is necessary.
Is saying to her the Jesus, Be believing to me, woman, that is coming hour when neither in the mountain this nor in Jerusalem YOU will worship to the Father. YOU are worshipping which not YOU have known we are worshiping which we have known, because the salvation out of the Jews is;
But is coming hour and now is, when the true worshipers will worship to the Father in spirit and to truth, and for the Father such is seeking the worshiping him;
Spirit the God and the worshiping him in spirit and to truth it is necessary to be worshiping.
Is saying to him the woman I have known that Messiah is coming, the being said Christ; whenever should come that, he will announce up to us all.
Is saying to her the Jesus I am, the speaking to you.
And upon this came the disciples of him and they were wondering because with woman he was speaking; no one of course said What are you seeking? Or Why are you speaking with her?
Let go off therefore the water jar of her the woman and went away into the city and is saying to the men
Hither see YOU man who said to me all which I did; not what this is the Christ?
They came forth out of the city and they were coming toward him.
In the between were requesting him the disciples saying Rabbi, eat.
The however said to them, I food am having to eat which YOU not have known.
Tune in tomorrow for the King James Version from 1611 and see if you consider it an accurate translation of the above.
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- In a message dated 25/12/2006 06:23:22 GMT Standard Time, jctundis@... writes:
I realize that it was also an observed date for Saturnalia in the Roman Empire but if I'm not mistaken that was the Winter Solstice specifically which usually occurs a few days before Christmas—certainly never on the 25thWhat Dave is missing is that it was the Mithras celebration which was the one appropriated by Christianity, not Saturnalia.-- Craig.
- --- In firstname.lastname@example.org, craigjohnsonesq@... wrote:
>Yes and no. Dave's wrong about the solstice. The traditional date of
> In a message dated 25/12/2006 06:23:22 GMT Standard Time,
> jctundis@... writes:
> > I realize that it was also an observed date for Saturnalia in the
> > Roman Empire but if I'm not mistaken that was the Winter Solstice
> > specifically which usually occurs a few days before
> > Christmasâ"certainly never on the 25th
> What Dave is missing is that it was the Mithras celebration which was
> the one appropriated by Christianity, not Saturnalia.
> -- Craig.
the Winter Solstice was December 25, no matter whether it was the
actual shortest day of the year or not. The calendar they used then
wasn't accurate enough for the actual solstice to fall on the same day
every year anyway.
But Mithras was supposedly born on that date, and it seems
inconceivable that there's no connection.
While Mithras worship was never widespread, it was VERY popular in the
Roman Legions, so Constantine probably picked December 25 out of the
dozens of dates (mostly in the spring) that had been put forth by
various theologians with an eye toward the Mithras worshippers in his
army, but the observance of the solstice was far more widespread, and
we'll probably never know which of the two he was aiming for. Indeed,
the stories that Mithras was born on December 25 could well have
sprung from the fact that that day was regarded as the solstice.
Saturnalia was a HUGE deal in pagan Rome. It was the big holiday of
the year in a calendar full of holidays. Several aspects of Saturnalia
made their way into Christian holiday celebrations, although most of
it ended up being moved later in the winter and became part of
Carnival or Mardis Gras (the servants and masters switching places,
the bonfires, the parades, the general attitude that all rules are
suspended for the duration).
The biggest problem with Dave's theory is that there is no evidence
that anyone even proposed December 25 as a *possible* date for Jesus'
birth until the late Third Century, and the first known organized
official recognition and celebration of that day as "Christmas" was in
336 -- AFTER Constantine had declared Christianity the favored
religion of the Roman Empire.
What am I saying? That's silly. The *biggest* problem with Dave's
theory is the idea that their were two different guys named Jesus and
that one of them provided the model for Matthew, Mark and Luke while
the other is the subject of John's Gospel. Compared to that, believing
that God pulled a fast one by having Jesus born on a pagan holiday is